Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Mini Review: Ward Against Darkness by Melanie Card

#2 in the Chronicles of a Reluctant Necromancer series
Release Date: August 27, 2013
Publisher: Entangled Teen 
Pages: 352
Received: ARC from publisher, via NetGalley
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads Page

This is a review of a sequel, but you can read it without any spoilers for book one. Mostly because I don't remember a whole lot of what happened in book one.

So, the bad thing about reading books in a series as they come out is that I forget a lot of what happened in the previous book. This is made triply worse when it takes not just one year, but TWO years for the next installment to come out.

By the time Ward Against Darkness decided to make an appearance, I had already forgotten pretty much everything about Ward Against Death. My memory consisted of:

  1. The two main characters were likable opposites in a wary truce with simmering romantic tension (which I liked a lot)
  2. They shared a scene in some underground hideout that was filled with swoony tension (yep, this is one of the few scenes I remember somewhat clearly)
  3. They're on the run. A lot.
  4. Something big and magical happened at the end and it concerns Ward and power and stuff

Aaaand, that's about it.

Ward Against Darkness picks up immediately where things left off in Ward Against Death, but I'm basing this more on context clues than actual memory. Context clues told me I was dumped into something where I should have known exactly what was going on, but memory said, "Nope, I've got nothing for you."

Luckily, I didn't really need my memory. I'm sure it would have helped shed some light on a few details or hints here and there, but overall Ward Against Darkness was totally enjoyable even with my foggy memory.

There's no questing or trekking or running or any of those things I like that happened in the first book, but that was ok. Instead, Ward and Celia find themselves in the position of reluctant "guests" in the home of a seriously creepy evil magic guy who is holding a competition to see who will be his apprentice in villainy.

Ward, being magically inclined, is of course entered (against his will) in this competition and the stakes keep getting raised as Ward and Celia find themselves going from one Oh Crap situation to another. There really isn't a dull moment.

There were all sorts of fun things that kept my interest and made me remember why I enjoyed the first book enough to obsessively check Melanie Card's Goodreads page for two years hoping for this sequel to release already. I wasn't let down.

What sort of fun things? Fake identities, double crosses, murders, untrustworthy alliances, tragic histories, creepy creatures, intriguing villains, inventive magical systems, and an ever growing tension that made me fly through the pages with a white-knuckled grip.

Also? Romance! Kind of. More like romantic tension, because this is a slow burn romance where both sides are clearly over the hate and mistrust part of their feelings now, but neither party realizes the other doesn't still harbor those feelings.

My favorite feature about their romantic feelings is that, while Ward and Celia are total opposites, each character sees value in the other and admires them for their strengths. They make a badass team.

Bottom line

I seriously hope I don't have to wait another two years for the next book. But, if I do, I know I'll wait and read it as soon as it releases. This isn't a series that I'm going to forget about or lose interest in. If anything, my interest grew the longer I had to wait and reading Ward Against Darkness only solidified my commitment to Ward and Celia's story.

On a totally unrelated note, are these covers for real? Can we step it up with the covers, please? This series is a hard sell with covers like that.

Love the punny titles though!

Explanation of rating system: Star Rating Key 

Do you have any questions about Ward Against Darkness that I haven't addressed?
Feel free to ask in the comments

Looking for another book like this?
You might like:

 Click on the pictures to go to my reviews.


  1. This is a good reminder that I need to read the first in this series. It sounds really cute.

    1. It's a great series. Definitely different from a lot of books out there. I think you'd like it.

  2. This sounds like a series that I might like. I haven't read one that features a necromancer before. Sounds like fun!

    1. The paranormal features are pretty unique in this series. Discovering how they work is half the fun, especially since the main characters don't even understand how everything works yet.

  3. Lol, I wish authors would write faster and/or I gained the ability to peek into their brains and could entertain myself with all the potential stories they've got stored. I remember you liked the first book but had no idea that it's been two years since then. I really should get around to reading book 1 because if I like it too, at least I won't have to wait two years to read the sequel ;)

  4. Oh man, yeah I had totally forgotten about the first book that you reviewed and had to brush up on it quickly! 2 years is a very long time between series books! I have a pretty good memory, but I think even I would be fuzzy on the details after all that time. At any rate, it's very encouraging that you liked this one better than the first book because I usually find the opposite is true when reading the second book. The romantic tension sounds awesome! But yeah, I could do without these amateurish looking covers!


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